Entrepreneurs start new businesses despite COVID-19 pandemic

Posted at 4:44 PM, Jul 02, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-03 07:32:23-04

CLEVELAND — Starting a business can be a stressful and scary proposition? Starting a business in the middle of the pandemic only amplifies it. And, yet, there are several businesses in Northeast Ohio that have managed to do that, despite the logistical challenges along the way.

It doesn't matter what it is or where but every business starts with an idea. For Josh Scott, the owner of The Cleveland Outpost in Rocky River, the idea for his used outdoor gear exchange was hatched while taking in the beauty of Lake Erie.

"We were looking out over the lake thinking, 'what if everybody could experience this?'" Scott said. "Our store is all about affordability, accessibility, sustainability, and community."

Accessibility and community are also the key tenants of Daniel Deagan's new venture, Lakewood Truck Park, an innovative take on dining. The 8000-square foot patio plus an indoor bar will feature a rotating stable of local food trucks. Deagan and his business partner, Justin Costanzo, envisioned the 19,000-square foot lot as a gathering point for friends, families, and visitors.

"I think people are going to love it a lot more than they think," Deagan said. "Honestly, it's a perfect place for social distancing. Everybody wants to be outside."

Both The Cleveland Outpost and the Lakewood Truck Park were originally supposed to open much earlier in the year but the coronavirus pandemic and subsequent stay-at-home orders necessitated a change in plans. Both owners said securing the proper supplies, permits and, in Deagan's case, a liquor license, required much more time because of COVID-19 complications.

"It was a little frustrating. If we had known [the starting date] was going to be three weeks from now, then we would know. We'd be more comfortable. The not knowing was the worst part," Deagan said.

However, throughout the process, the pandemic taught both owners a lesson in resiliency.

"It was much more encouraging than what we would have suspected," Scott said. "It was terrifying at first and over the first few weeks we have been amazed by the outpouring of support that people have been giving us."